Rebuilding my Farm

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Farmerboy16, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. Farmerboy16

    Farmerboy16 Rebuilding my Farm

    2,485
    59
    208
    Dec 30, 2010
    Sparta, MI
    I thought that I would start a thread on how I have been dealing with
    my flock, so anyone can learn from my experience, and hopefully will
    not have to go through what I had to go though. First off, I will
    write how I have got to this point on poultry keeping.

    I was 13 when I first started this chicken madness. We were
    visiting a distant family relative living in a log house in the middle
    of nowhere, and they had a small backyard flock of chickens. I wanted
    to help collect the eggs, and found 2 brown, 1 blue egg. I proudly
    showed my mom the find, and asked her if we could take them home and
    try to hatch them, she said yes. We have never incubated anything
    before. We tried incubating them in the big bird house that we made. 2 eggs had quit in a week, but 1 egg would have hatched, if we had left it alone for a day or two.

    We tried again with a dozen eggs, but they all had died in 7 days, so
    my parents decided to buy some chicks from a local hatchery. We drove
    about 30 miles to get 6 California White chicks. 5 pullets and 1
    cockerel.
    We lost the cockerel at 2 months old to a hawk. So we went back to the
    hatchery and brought 3 chicks, 2 Isa Brown Cockerels and one pullet. In
    November, my grandparents brought me a Isa Brown Hen from the Amish
    for my 14th birthday.
    Each year I would hatch some chicks in the Top Hatch incubator from my flock, and we would buy more Isa Brown pullets. I had been selling eating eggs to friends. One year, when I was 18, I wanted to expand my laying flock, and ordered a bunch of pullets of different breeds. As the pullets grew, I had notice that 3 "pullets" out of about 20 or so pullets were cockerels, a Buff Orpington, Black Australorp, Rhode Island Red. As they grew, my mom asked me to sell a cockerel, saying that she does not want too many roosters. So, I sold the RIR to a farmer. I kept the Buff Orpington and the Black Australorp cockerels. Next year, I had a lot of hens go broody, so I let the hens sit about 12 eggs per hen, and hatched a lot of chicks that year, so many that I was trying to find people to buy the extras, and a lady told me about Craigslist. I posted on Craigslist, and got emails and sold a lot of cockerels and pullets very quickly. I thought that it is a good way to make a good living selling the chicks.

    So the next year, I added 3 coops on to the back of the layer coop, and had 4 breeds separated- Buff Orpington, Black Australorp, Light Brahma, Golden Lace Sebright. I did well in the first summer from Craigslist, flyers, and word of mouth. Then I wanted to add more breeds like Easter Eggers, and a few others. Each year, I kept adding more, and my flock grew larger. In 2008, I ordered some Chinese Geese to use as weeders, and grew 1 acre of field corn for the chicken feed. I had needed more land for corn, so I asked my neighbor next to us if I could plant about a acre or so to feed my flock, and he said yes. So, each year, I made each field bigger; this year, the farmer that plants the corn for me planted 7 acres total. Last year, I got some Bourbon Red Turkeys, and loved them - but I was adding faster then I could build coops for, but I continued wanting more different breeds. I have carpal tunnel in both wrists from the job I had during the winter as a janitor at a apple packing warehouse. I was getting overworked, and did not clean the coops for months, and slacked a bit on feeding and watering because I had too many. I wasn't careful about letting strangers walk around our yard, handling my birds. My customers would bring back ''pullets'' that I had sexed and trade for the real pullets.

    I always sell the cockerels, and any birds that I cull to an Asian lady. Last summer, I took some chicks and half grown birds to a Chickenstock for the first time through BYC in June. I had good time there, and traded and sold a bit there, and brought home a lot of new birds. I did not do any quarantine at all, just stuck all the birds in my flock, the same way I have been doing in all my years of poultry keeping. They looked fine anyway, so in they went...

    A month later, I noticed that my half-grown chicks had runny noses and a puffy sac right under their eyes. I have had chickens with runny noses before, so I did not think it was a big deal, thinking that they will get over it like my older hens had. But a year-old rooster's eyes swelled up, and he could not see at all - he died 2 days later, and that told me that something is very serious. So, I posted in the Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures section- https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...and-foul-smelling-running-nose-update-post-50

    A month later after I had culled more then half of my chickens, noticed one of the turkey hen hads a sinus issue, and most of the turkeys had scabs all over their head, this time I did not wait, but posted what is wrong with them in the Turkey Section- https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=570856

    Sadly, both diseases- Coryza and Mycoplasma resulted in my culling my entire flock of 300 plus chickens, 15 ducks, 15 geese, 9 turkeys, and 5 guineas. I would think that I deserved this, for I did not do good flock managing practice. I have wasted a lot of money and time, by not being wise, and not listening to my parents when they were trying to reason with me, but I was stubborn, wanting my own way.

    The Lessons I learned?
    LISTEN TO MY PARENTS!
    QUARANTINE 30 DAYS!!!
    START OUT SMALL AND MAYBE STAY SMALL!
    BUY NEW STOCK THAT ARE NPIP AND MG FREE!
    IF YOU RUN OUT OF MONEY AND NEED TO BORROW TO PAY FOR THE FEED, IT MEANS YOU HAVE TOO MANY BIRDS TO FEED!!!
    FEELING OVERWORKED BY JUST LOOKING AT ALL THE COOPS THAT I HAVE TO CLEAN, AND FEEDING, WATERING ALL THE BIRDS, YOU HAVE TOO MUCH BIRDS!
    LIMIT THE NUMBER OF THE BREEDS, AND KEEP THE NUMBER LOW!
    KEEP STRANGERS AND CUSTOMERS OFF THE THE FARM. AND PRACTICE A BIO-SECURITY REGIMEN!

    There, I hope that no one will have to go through what I had gone through. It was a very hard lesson for me, it has hurt me emotionally to kill some of them, for I have never killed any of my birds before. I was at a point of despair, and quitting the farm altogether, if it was not for Hillbilly Hen and Wynette offering eggs and an uplift. Thanks Hillbilly Hen and Wynette.

    So, what I have done up to this point- I culled the last of my chickens yesterday morning, one of the hens was the last hen from my very first batch of chicks that my mom drove 30 miles to get. I was very emotional, and held her for 10 minutes before putting her in the tub to euthanize her and 14 other chickens. I have 3 toms left now, and they are leaving today. It is very quiet here, no poultry noise.
    Here is Princess, my 9 year old hen the night I put her down. RIP
    [​IMG]

    I will keep posting on here on the progress of rebuilding my farm the right way. You are welcome to give advise and help.
    Right now I have some chicks hatching from different breeders here at BYC, it feels so nice to see them come out of the shells. These little buggers are my future. I will post pictures of them tonight.

    Thanks for reading.

    Daron
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
  2. JulieNKC

    JulieNKC Overrun With Chickens

    6,636
    41
    258
    Sep 25, 2010
    Kansas City
    [​IMG] Good luck starting a new flock!
     
  3. Gerry2011

    Gerry2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

    332
    0
    99
    Jul 8, 2011
    NW Arkansas
    I am so sorry [​IMG] , but it does seem we to have to learn the hard way [​IMG] Best of luck in the future [​IMG]
     
  4. christineavatar

    christineavatar Chillin' With My Peeps

    339
    1
    114
    May 1, 2011
    Bolinas, CA
    I am very sorry for your loss! It is so hard to have one of your birds die because of something you could have done differently. I have been keeping chickens for a few years now and have lost quite a few due to different mistakes I have made, from having the wrong dog to having a raccoon reach through the wire and injure a bird so badly that I had to kill the bird. My recommendation is to thank them all for the lessons they have brought you. Once it can happen to anyone, twice it should happen to no one. From what I read of your depth of caring it wont happen a second time.
     
  5. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    23,342
    1,231
    448
    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    A tough and sad lesson for you Daron. Follow through with your lessons learned. Resist the temptations of getting more birds than you can handle. THAT is the toughest thing to do IMO. Keep it as simple as possible so you can have free time for yourself. If you feel like you're slipping...talk to your folks, or you can post here in BYC....you'll get plenty of help and support here.
     
  6. jbourget

    jbourget Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2008
    CT
    One should always practice quarentine, wether it be poultry, sheep, hogs, cattle ect no matter what you dont know where or what its carrying... Thats too bad for your birds, you know it can still be in your soil you understand? and your new birds will pick it right back up. eggs will hatch. start all over, unless you treated it of course... hope so

    also anything from auctions are a no no
     
  7. Warrprincess688

    Warrprincess688 Chillin' With My Peeps

    253
    5
    118
    Mar 25, 2011
    Danvers MA
    Thank You for Sharing. I appreciate you telling me your experience [​IMG] Its a tough lesson to learn and your tough to want to still do chickens
     
  8. Achickenwrangler#1

    Achickenwrangler#1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,431
    66
    183
    Aug 7, 2011
    west virginia
    Thanks for sharing, I respect that. When I watch a 'how to' project they never show all the mistakes made, which is how you learn, everybody makes mistakes, nothing ever goes perfectly, if you can pass on the info and help somebody avoid, or fix a problem then thats really teaching something worthwhile learning.
    At least you are getting back on your feet and trying again. Remember to post lots of pictures, everybody loves that![​IMG]
     
  9. Farmerboy16

    Farmerboy16 Rebuilding my Farm

    2,485
    59
    208
    Dec 30, 2010
    Sparta, MI
    Quote:I have read up on both diseases, and Coryza can live outside the birds for 4 days, and there is a 3 week waiting period, before adding new stock. For Mycoplasma, the disease can live outside the bird for 5 days, and can stay viable in droppings for a month, and there is a 3 month waiting period, however they are killed by a good freeze. I have disinfected the brooder shed two times before adding the chicks in. [​IMG] Thanks.
     
  10. obaan1

    obaan1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    334
    1
    116
    Jun 9, 2010
    Great Lakes State
    It's got to have been a really long and tough summer for you, Daron. Here's hoping that 2012 will be so much brighter and prosperous. Thank you for sharing and for keeping us up to date on this sad situation. I purchased black Australorp chicks and hatching eggs from you in the past; they are terrific birds. Your flock's offspring are doing well over here--something that you can be proud of. Best of luck to you as you start another poultry chapter in the book of life.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by